|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||10.3 miles (16.6 km)|
|Meets:||A4, B3105, B3108, B3109, B3107, A366, A361, B3097, A350|
|Old route now:||A350|
|Route outline (key)|
The A363 is a short route that takes us across the Somerset-Wiltshire border, passing through picturesque Bradford-on-Avon.
The start of the road on the A4 at Bathford, east of Bath, was once a modest junction, but now it's a substantial roundabout - this being due to the construction of the dual-carriageway Batheaston bypass which was supposed to be part of a bigger scheme that is now abandoned. We immediately head under the main London-Bristol railway line and climb steeply up the eastern side of the Avon Valley, which on its western side also carries the A36, the Kennet and Avon Canal, and the railway line to the south coast. As we diverge from the valley we cross the border into Wiltshire, passing a golf course on our left as we reach the edge of Bradford-on-Avon.
After the steep ascent from Bathford, we have to make an equally steep descent through the town. First the forks left to Holt and Staverton, then the B3108 joins from the right, bringing traffic across the Avon from Bath. As the hill increases, the B3109 joins from the left and then a sharp right hander leads to an even sharper, and narrower left turn for the final steep and narrow descent to the town centre, where the B3107 also joins.
Bradford-on-Avon is a picturesque little town with all sorts of attractive features, the most notable being the medieval Tithe Barn, built in the early 14th century to store the taxes or "tithes" paid by the local peasants. We cross the Avon via the historic Town Bridge, for there is no other way (short of a significant detour). This bridge is the view of Bradford which you will see on all the postcards, featuring a "lock-up" with two cells and iron beds. We cross the railway line near the town station, negotiate a small one-way system and then head out of town again over the Kennet and Avon canal towards Trowbridge.
There is less than a mile between the two towns these days, and yet Trowbridge is about as different from Bradford-on-Avon as you can get. It's the county town of Wiltshire and home to a number of businesses and industry, as is much of north east Wiltshire. Coming into the town we turn left at the square around Holy Trinity Church, where the A366 terminates and then cross the railway line. The B3106 then continues ahead into the town centre as we swing right to meet the A361.
This leads to a short multiplex westwards, back over the railway line and onto the final section bypassing North Bradley. Trowbridge is a town of many bypasses which seem to have been subsequently absorbed by development, and this is no different. The B3097 is met at a roundabout, and then one final stretch takes us under the railway to another roundabout at Yarnbrook on the A350, where another arm of the B3097 also joins.